Texas Abortion "Trigger" Law Effective August 25th, 2022
July 27, 2022
The Texas abortion "trigger law" will be effective on August 25th, 2022. This law will prohibit almost all abortions. It also sets out civil, criminal, and professional penalties for abortion providers who violate the law.
These provisions are in Chapter 170A of the Texas Health & Safety Code, which was enacted by House Bill 1280 in 2021. The bill allows Chapter 170A to go into effect 30 days after the U.S. Supreme Court issues a final judgment overruling Roe v. Wade.
On June 24th, 2022, the court released an opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that allows individual states to prohibit abortion. The court issued a final judgment in the case on July 26th, which set the trigger provisions in motion.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton provided guidance on the impact of Roe v. Wade’s reversal on Texas law in two advisory letters released this summer. The second advisory letter states that Chapter 170A will take effect on August 25th, 2022.
Paxton’s guidance also addresses the Texas criminal abortion laws in place before the Roe decision in 1973. He states that these laws are now enforceable as they were never repealed by the Texas Legislature. Paxton advised that under the pre-Roe laws, local prosecutors can immediately pursue charges against anyone who provides a restricted abortion. The enforceability of these prior laws is currently being litigated in state courts.
We've covered the trigger law and other Texas abortion laws in more detail in several Legal FAQs:
You can also find more information on Texas and federal abortion laws in our Abortion Laws research guide.